News - September 28, 2022 - by Ray Hagar
The relationship between China and the U.S. is "unstable" and needs a reset, Nevada's 1st U.S. House District Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, said on Nevada Newsmakers Wednesday.
"We should be looking at China as a competitor, rather than as an enemy," Titus, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, told host Sam Shad. "I think that would change our relationship."
While trade between the two superpowers remains robust, the nations differ on numerous issues, including the status of Taiwan. That island in the South China Sea considers itself a self-ruled nation. China considers it a breakaway province that will eventually return to Beijing's control.
President Biden has pledged four times in two years to come to the defense of Taiwan, if invaded. The latest comments came on Sept. 19 and has roiled Chinese officials, according to various reports.
"The President might be walking that back a little," Titus said of Biden's comments. "But we have always said we would defend Taiwan but we have not been specific what that meant. That doesn't necessarily mean sending troops."
Today (Wednesday), Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to talk about China when speaking before U.S. servicemen in Tokyo.
In August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, drawing swift rebukes and a show of force from Chinese officials who called it a "major political provocation," and a violation of the "One China" policy.
"The relationship between the U.S. and China has gotten very unstable and that is one of the reasons why the President didn't necessarily want Nancy Pelosi going to Taiwan," Titus said. "It might send the wrong kind of message.
"But you can't back away from your friends. That's something Trump did," Titus said. "He insulted all our old allies, including some from the Revolutionary War. You know, he was about to pull out of NATO.
"We have some loyal friends and if you won't stand by them, then they won't trust you and you don't know what position they will take in the future. I don't think you can back off. "
The tense relations between the U.S. and China does not seem to put at risk the gaming licenses of three Nevada companies that operate on the Chinese island of Macau, Titus said.
"I don't see us losing those licenses but it (U.S.-China relations) certainly makes things less secure," Titus said.
Macau's gaming license holders -- including the Las Vegas-based Sands, Wynn and MGM Resorts, have filed for new 10-year gaming licenses that also allow for three-year extensions under certain circumstances, according to the Nevada Independent. The companies each paid the Macau government $6 million in June to extend their current 20-year licenses, set to expire at the end of the month, to Dec. 31, the Nevada Independent reported.
"It is always an iffy situation," Titus said. "Right now I don't think there is much of a chance (for licensing troubles). What happened during Covid, most of those (Macau casinos) were shut down and they lost a lot of money, similar to how Las Vegas was shut down."
Gaming in Macau is not the same as gaming in Las Vegas, Titus said. Macau's mood is serious with few frills.
"I've visited Macau and those facilities are very different from gaming in the US," Titus said. "They are big, cavernous places. And they are very quiet. There is no, 'Yay, seven-come-11 (shouting).'
"They are very serious about it," Titus said. "They are drinking tea. They are not drinking (alcohol) and partying. They see gaming as something they take seriously. They are not doing it to have fun.
The current conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court overturned the longstanding Roe vs. Wade decision earlier this year, stripping abortion of its constitutional protections. It may have a major impact the November elections, Titus said.
"This has been a major issue for mobilizing Democrats," she said. "The enthusiasm gap is gone. You see women registering (to vote) in record numbers and young women, who have taken this for granted, are now getting involved again.
"So certainly I think that it works to the advantage of people who actually do believe in the right to choose and individual freedom and think abortion is a situation that you never want to be in. And if you are, it should be decided by the woman, her doctor and maybe a priest -- but certainly not a room full of politicians."
Titus and the three other members of the U.S. House from Nevada all face re-election in November. The reaction to the abortion ruling has buoyed Democratic hopes, she said.
"Certainly it has been a factor in turning some of that around," Titus said. "Gas prices are coming down. The Inflation Reduction Act is bringing some medical prices down. The President has given a couple of really strong speeches and has gotten more engaged and his numbers are going up. So it is not what they predicted a couple of months ago, which we would lose the House by major numbers as well as the Senate by some."
Controlling Supreme Court
The new conservative-leaning Supreme Court has turned politics in Washington D.C. on its head very quickly, Titus suggested.
"The Republicans have been trying to overturn Roe v Wade since it was decided and that's been 50 years," she said. "Just like Obamacare. They wanted to get rid of that and voted for it about 90-some times. (They) were not able to do it.
"But finally, when they control the whole (Supreme) Court, they overturned it and look how quickly," Titus said. "It was just a minute. And since they overturned it, a number of states have had laws that trigger in (to abortion bans) or have introduced new, very restrictive laws.
"So this was something that could have been predicted but yet it was startling that it would happen in this country," she said. "Every place else is moving forward but we're moving backward."
She sounded a warning that the Supreme Court's power may outweigh that of the congressional and executive branches of the federal government, upsetting the constitutional balance of power among the three branches.
"The court has the last word and remember, they serve for life," Titus said. "A lot of these appointments made by Trump are very young people and they're going to be there for a very long time. And if they can overturn, with a majority of a very small body of nine people, the will of the public, when the public is in favor of privileges and right to choose ... what kind of democracy is that?"